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PANTANAL SAFARI REPORT
THE FLORIDA ADVENTURES SERIES 1, 2 & 3
It’s not surprising that the world’s largest in-land wetland is almost always a homerun to wildlife & nature photographers and a huge hit--“right out of the park”-- for the tour leader guiding those very same wildlife and nature photographers! For me & my group, this year’s tour a few weeks ago was like “hitting pay-dirt”--- again. After the second morning out shooting, one of my tour participants, Mike, announced that if we stopped right now he could go home a happy man!! By the end of the fourth day we all stopped counting the ‘gigs’ we shot ( except for the one film user who wouldn’t tell……!!!!??)
Brazilian Screech Owl
Look who has gone digital!!!
The weather was cool & mostly sunny everyday, my ‘hand-picked-by-me-guides’ were exceptional as usual, the food delicious, accommodations excellent, no unusual or unfortunate incidents to report, AND Lady Luck in full swing. For me, the highlight of the trip was the night drive when the elusive Ocelot performed for about twenty minutes. As you can see by the exceptionally good images shot by Rock & Mike, this rare opportunity was quite the experience.
Photo by Robert Rock
Photo by Mike DeNardo
Hyacinth Macaws were not as abundant as in years past, but those that were there were omnipresent, very vocal, and fun to shoot. Outside the village of Bonito, Red & Green Macaws and the Blue & Green Macaws made a huge showing of themselves.
Another great big highlight of my shooting career was being able to not only see, but photograph, the female Anteater and her baby clinging to Mama’s back. They are fast as lightening and not to be fooled with as they have fearsome front feet with huge claws for digging up ant hills and termite mounds. Alyo, my fabulous guide, and Sandro, my wonderful van driver took the “bull by the horns” and went out into the field in a ‘round-up-type’ manner and gently & quietly walked around which steered the anteater toward our area so we could fire off a few outstanding shots.
"Cool nesting material"
I’m not sure why or when my love for armadillos began, but they are a favorite mammal of mine so I was thrilled to capture this shot of a Yellow Armadillo chasing the Seriama bird. I have no idea why all this was happening, but safe to say, the armadillo won the stand-off!
At the moment, I am planning on running another trip to the Pantanal next year. Right now, I’m formulating an in-depth “recon” mission to another area to be added to my future itinerary. One of the big pluses of my trips is flexibility. Because I keep my groups relatively small (so equipment is safe and accessible, and maneuvering around is easier), we are able to get to more areas with more photo opportunities. It is just too hard with large groups of eight plus people, which alarms the wildlife, is stressful on the guides, drivers & especially each participant. There will be more on next year’s plans coming up in future newsletters, but suffice it to say, it would behoove you to consider one of my tours if you enjoy almost 100% guarantees for successful photo opps with any size camera and lens!! I’m suggesting you send an e-mail expressing an interest in order to be placed on “the list” of a potential future participants. There is no obligation to sign up…it just gives me an idea on how to proceed with the logistics of that trip. You may want to periodically check on my website Tour Pages to see what is coming up and what is new: www.joannewilliamsphoto.com. Do let me hear from you and your thoughts.
First of all, thanks to so many of you who have taken the time from your busy schedules to contact me with your personal thoughts, questions, concerns, ideas and needs. One message or “point” has definitely been made, which is…. not everyone can take the time or can afford to go on some of my bigger and longer tours. In an effort to meet everyone’s needs and rectify this situation, I’m starting a new series of tours called The Florida Adventures. This series will entail a number of different type packages for photographing around Florida. There will be half-day, full-day, and/or multiple day trips to various wetlands, beaches, lakes, parks, zoos, rivers, woods etc. that I have photographed in and around over the years and used as my “studio” for building my extensive portfolio. This will be a wonderful opportunity for you to learn some photo ‘hot-spot’ areas I’ve used over the years, learn about the ‘dos & don’ts’ of working in-the-field, learn about my old tried & true methods, & learn some of my new techniques as you build your own portfolio while in the company of a working professional. All this at a practically “give-away” price!!!
The following are the names of the various pre-arranged tours within the Series with a brief description:
“A STROLL with a PRO” series:
A morning or afternoon walking tour to a pre-arranged wetland, park, zoo etc. This is great for macro & handheld equipment as well as the larger rigs requiring tripods. (There will be no sherpas included so you must be able to handle your own equipment). Considering the fact that I am the “Pro you are to Stroll” with, and considering the fact that I live in the Pompano Beach, Ft. Lauderdale, Palm Beach area, it is probably safe to conclude the majority of these Impromtu “Strolls with a Pro” tours will take place in and around these areas, such as Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge, Wakadohatchee Wetlands, Green Cay Wetlands, Butterfly World etc. However, sticking to the South Florida area may not always be the case as I often photograph in and around the New Smyrna Beach, Merritt Island area, as well as Viera Wetlands and numerous other areas I’ll share at another time. Also, PLEASE feel free to make a request for your own personal private and/or semi-private “Stroll with a Pro” tour (share with a friend). I’ll be limiting them to no more than five or six persons depending on location.
“THE FOTOBOAT” series:
A morning, afternoon, or a full-day tour on my custom-designed-by-me-for-photography Fotoboat. I maneuver you into skinny water (shallows down to 4” to 6”) quietly sneaking up on critters mating, nesting, feeding, babies in nests, deer families drinking at waters edge, raccoons washing, otters playing, scolding, feeding etc. This craft has a silent electric trolling motor- plus your captain uses her poling abilities on occasion-to set you up in the best possible position with the best angle to photograph images very few other photographers can ever get to…or most people ever even see! I’ve rigged her with strategically-placed, heavy-duty Gitzo monopods, each mounted with its own Wimberley ball head. You will have the benefit of my ability to incorporate my years & years of boating experience, with my knowledge, love & respect of the Florida wildlife along with my strict ‘code of ethics’ of shooting in-the-field while protecting the well-being of the wildlife. ALL THIS, Plus my photographic experience and eagerness to teach and share as well!!! The Fotoboat is limited to two people (plus me) per trip. Location is very flexible, and you should feel free to make a request, a suggestion, or to inquire about a ‘photo-happening’ in your area.
DOING THE “PONTOON PUTT” with Joanne:
The “Pontoon Putt” is not a new dance step that I am introducing—(though I suppose it could be). The “Pontoon Putt” is another one of my unique photographic adventures within the Florida Adventure Series held in and around various waterways here in the Sunshine State!! Going on twenty (20) some-odd years, I’ve owned a 23 foot pontoon boat that I’ve used as my main mode of transportation to and from various photo opps, as my photo-studio, as my home away from home, as well as my photo-classroom. She can comfortably hold up to six photographers (not all using tripods) or four enthusiasts (all using tripods). (I also have custom-made special beanbags that take the place of a tripod). I’ve traveled & photographed most every end of Florida. In the spirit of attempting to keep my promise & be able to accommodate more of you who have requested my services, I’m now re-reconning many of the areas I haven’t been to in some time. We’re having fun doing it too!!
This last March’s Florida Adventure was a huge success (refer to Newsletter #58 to refresh your memories or to see some images & read about it). Most of the time the “Pontoon Putt” series will be two, three, & four day jaunts into some of my favorite areas like: the St. John’s River, the Sebastian/Indian River area, New Smyrna, Everglades etc. Sometimes I rent a large pontoon and also bring the Fotoboat, which makes for great flexibility and fun of having all the toys at our disposal!
Of course, the “Pontoon Putt” is planned well in advance due to the need to provide our overnight accommodations. Any suggestions or requests are welcome!!
Note: Due to my upcoming, established tours already in place (please refer to website www.joannewilliamsphoto.com), and weather conditions, wildlife availability, people’s vacation plans, and a host of other reasons, the FLORIDA ADVENTURE SERIES will not commence until after Thanksgiving. However, I can be very flexible (as this is what I LOVE to do) if you have any ideas, groups interested, want personal time and attention, please feel free to contact me on your own. I cannot fulfill your photographic dreams unless you let me know what you want!!!
I’m proud to announce the “birth” of this new organization, and to endorse its mission. Please take the time to go to the website and see for yourself: www.evergladesphotosociety.com
Photo Researchers, Editors, and Publishers:
As stated in previous newsletters, at no obligation to you, send me a “want list” of images you are looking for that may coincide with a trip I’m about to take, or have recently taken, and I’ll do my very best to seek out that subject and shoot it with your request in mind. This may save you some expense, give me a specific mission and possibly a sale of that image. It’s a ‘win, win situation’!
A quick reminder that my library of 35mm original slides houses approximately 75,000 images, and my digital library presently holds over 41,000 (and growing-hourly)!